Why Parents Should Prioritize Their Own Financial Futures
Many parents struggle with a fundamental financial planning question: retirement savings vs. education funding for the kids – which should come first? When it comes to saving for the future, these two goals often compete for priority. While both are important, it can be difficult to strike a balance between the two. In this article, we will discuss some key factors to consider when deciding how to allocate your savings between these two goals.
Retirement Savings vs. Education Funding: Why Your Retirement Should Come First
Saving for retirement is crucial because it allows you to maintain your standard of living once you stop working. Social Security benefits are often not enough to cover all of your expenses, especially if you have expensive hobbies or healthcare needs. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the more time your money has to grow through the power of compounding. Plus, contributing to a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plans can also provide tax benefits.
Many a parent has neglected their own retirement savings in favor of funding a child’s education. After all, making sacrifices for our kids is ingrained in us the moment we become parents. However, failing to strike the right balance in terms of retirement savings vs. education funding could put you in a difficult financial situation later in life. While your kids can borrow money to pay for college, there are no loans available for retirement. That’s why most financial advisors recommend prioritizing retirement savings vs. education funding.
Planning for Your Children’s Education
While retirement savings should come first, funding your children’s education is still an important goal. The cost of tuition, room and board, and other expenses continues to rise every year. Without proper planning and saving, you or your children may have to rely on student loans or other forms of debt to pay for college.
With that in mind, here are some tips for planning for your children’s educational needs:
- Start saving early: The earlier you start saving for your children’s education, the better. Compound interest can make a significant difference in the amount of money you’ll have available when it’s time to pay for college, so early saving could make the retirement savings vs. education funding dilemma irrelevant.
- Consider a 529 plan: A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged investment account designed specifically for education savings. These plans are offered by most states and allow your savings to grow tax-free as long as the money is used for qualified education expenses.
- Look into scholarships and grants: There are many scholarships and grants available to help reduce the cost of college. Explain to your kids that you need to find a balance between retirement savings vs. education funding and encourage them to apply for as many as possible to help offset the cost of tuition and other expenses.
- Set realistic expectations: It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your children about the cost of education. Encourage them to consider less expensive options, such as attending a community college for two years before transferring to a four-year university.
Balancing Retirement Savings vs. Education Funding
So, how do you successfully balance retirement savings vs. education savings? Here are some factors to consider:
- Calculate how much you need for retirement. Use a retirement calculator like this one to determine how much you need to save for retirement. This will help you determine how much you can afford to allocate to education savings.
- Review your budget. Take a look at your monthly budget to see if you can cut back on any unnecessary expenses. The money you save can be put toward retirement if you’re not already maxing out your contributions, or toward an education savings strategy.
- Consider a compromise. Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to contribute to both retirement savings and education savings. For example, you could allocate a certain percentage of your savings to each goal while still feeling financially secure for retirement.
In terms of retirement savings vs. education funding, it’s important to create a plan that works for you and your family. If you’re unsure about where to start, consider consulting with a financial advisor who can help you create a comprehensive plan to achieve your financial goals.
Striking a Balance: How to Prioritize Retirement Savings vs. Education Funding
While saving for retirement should be a top priority, it’s understandable if you feel that funding your children’s education is also an important goal. Particularly if you suffered through many years of paying off your own student loans, you may naturally wish to avoid that fate for your kids. The good news is that with proper planning and saving, you can strike a balance between the two. By following these tips and consulting with a financial advisor, you can create a comprehensive plan to achieve your financial goals.
At Arbor Capital Management, we understand that the topic of retirement savings vs. education funding can present a difficult balancing act. That’s why we’re here to help you create a comprehensive plan that takes into account your unique circumstances and goals. Whether you’re just starting to save for retirement or you’re looking for ways to fund your children’s education, we can provide guidance and advice to help you achieve your financial goals. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the right balance.
If you’re a client of ours and you have any questions or concerns about your own retirement savings or education funding goals, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to schedule a time to discuss how we can help you find the right balance. And if you know someone who could benefit from this information, we encourage you to share this article with them. We believe that the more people who have access to this information, the better!